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What to Cook Now: Trendsetting Ingredients

Peri peri chicken, soy-sauce crystals, Dutch cheese and more.

Soy-Sauce Crystals

Soy Sauce Crystals

© Gregor Halenda

Using an 18th-century technique, a Japanese company called Kamebishi makes light, flaky salt crystals by dehydrating soy sauce that’s been fermented for three years in 100-year-old cedar vats. Just a pinch gives shrimp or eggs a meaty flavor. $30 for a 2-oz jar; atthemeadow.com.

slideshow Plus: Japanese Recipes

Connoisseurs’ Gouda

Gouda

Courtesy of Formaggio Kitchen

Made by a Dutch producer and aged for two years, caramelly Reypenaer V.S.O.P. Gouda cheese is complex in a way that bland supermarket Goudas aren’t. $35 per lb.; formaggiokitchen.com.

Plus: F&W’s Ultimate Cheese Guide

The Next Jerk Chicken

Peri Peri

© Gregor Halenda

If 2008 was the year of jerk chicken, 2009 will be the year of peri peri chicken. Peri peri—also called piri piri—is the Portuguese name for the small, red, fiery bird’s-eye chile grown in much of Africa. Nando’s, a South Africa–based restaurant chain, has just brought its spicy grilled peri peri chicken to the U.S. with its first location in Washington, DC; more American outposts are slated to open later this year. For a taste of peri peri at home, try Nando’s hot sauces. $7 for two 4.7-oz. bottles; nandosusa.com.

Recipe: Caribbean Jerk Chicken

Chefs’ Favorite Herb

anise hyssop

© Gregor Halenda

Its minty licorice flavor has made the flowering herb anise hyssop a new chefs’ darling; its purported health benefits (it may settle an uneasy stomach and help blood flow) are a nice extra. At Seattle’s Corson Building, Matthew Dillon (an F&W Best New Chef 2007) roasts chicken with whole anise hyssop leaves and poaches fruit in an aromatic syrup with the herb’s spiky purple blossoms.

slideshow Plus: Roast Chicken Recipes

Extreme Eggs

ostrich eggs

© Gregor Halenda

One ostrich egg is the equivalent of two dozen chicken eggs—big enough to make an omelet for 10. Whole Foods locations in the Northeast and parts of Ohio will be selling these prehistoric-looking eggs in the spring (ostriches don’t lay eggs in cold weather) at its “egg bars,” where duck, quail, pheasant and deep-green emu eggs are already available.

slideshow Plus: Amazing Egg Recipes

Probiotic Power

probiotic power

© Gregor Halenda

Raw, fermented foods like pickles are now hailed as probiotic: They contain bacteria or yeasts that may aid digestion and boost immunity. Here, three taste-test winners.

Pickles: Real Pickles’ dills are perfectly salty-sweet. realpickles.com.

Kombucha: GT’s Gingerade kombucha tea has a zippy flavor. gtskombucha.com.

Sauerkraut: Wills Valley’s red cabbage is nicely tangy. willsvalley.com.

Ubiquitous Goat

Pappardelle with Milk-Roasted Baby Goat Ragù

© April Williams

Whether it’s called cabrito (in Spanish), capretto (in Italian) or katsiki (in Greek), baby goat is showing up on menus everywhere. Chef Michael Psilakis (an F&W Best New Chef 2008) at Anthos in New York City serves it three ways: the roasted rack with goat jus, the poached loin and the braised belly.

Recipe: Pappardelle with Milk-Roasted Baby Goat Ragù (left)

Sugar Au Naturel

Cooks are discovering that agave nectar, Indian jaggery and other natural sweeteners have nuanced flavors that white sugar doesn’t; plus, unprocessed sweeteners may be richer in minerals and less likely to cause spikes in blood-sugar levels.

Plus: Natural Sugars 101

Published January 2009
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